Medal for founder of folk fes­ti­val

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - New Year Honours -

The founder of Ten­ter­den Folk Fes­ti­val has been awarded in the New Year Hon­ours list.

Alan Cas­tle will re­ceive the Bri­tish Em­pire Medal for ser­vices to mu­sic and her­itage and the 63-year-old said the news came as a bit of a shock.

Mr Cas­tle, of Rep­ton Manor Road, Ash­ford, said: “I was amazed when I found out. I don’t know how on earth it came about. It was a bit of a shock but a pleas­ant one.”

The re­tired ac­coun­tant or­gan­ised the first Ten­ter­den Folk Day in 1993 as part of the 150th an­niver­sary celebration of the rail­way line com­ing to Ash­ford and Ten­ter­den.

He per­suaded Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil to give him a £250 grant and the event at­tracted 15 guests.

Twenty years on and the fes­ti­val has grown into an an­nual weekend-long event, at­tract­ing lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional per­form- ers, and Mr Cas­tle con­tin­ues to or­gan­ise it.

He cred­its his love of mu­sic to his older brother Pete Cas­tle, a pro­fes­sional folk mu­si­cian who now lives in Der­byshire but is a reg­u­lar per­former at Ten­ter­den Folk Fes­ti­val.

The younger sib­ling ad­mits to hav­ing “dab­bled” with var­i­ous in­stru­ments over the years, most re­cently the melo­dion, but claims he is not good enough at any of them to play in pub­lic.

He con­tin­ued: “Mu­sic is a hobby and a pas­sion of mine and it’s nice to mix with peo­ple I have so much in com­mon with.”

Mr Cas­tle is also a trus­tee of St Mary’s Arts Trust in Ash­ford and has been pro­mot­ing mu­si­cal events in the area since 1972.

He is a mem­ber of the RSPB and the Na­tional Trust and de­scribes him­self as an avid reader.

He in­tended to cel­e­brate his BEM with a meal with friends.

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